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Seizures of newspapers, smear campaigns against journalists in Yemen

(RSF/IFEX) - 28 April 2011 - RSF highlights the most recent press freedom violations in Yemen and Bahrain:

YEMEN

Security forces surrounded the home of "Akhbar Al-Youm" reporter Mohammed Al-Louzi for three hours on 25 April 2011 because of his coverage of current events in Yemen.

Members of the Republican Guard stopped Abdel Aziz Al-Majidi, the editor of the newspaper "Al-Shahid", at a checkpoint the same day, preventing him from entering Taiz province. Copies of his newspaper were seized at the same checkpoint the day before.

These were not isolated incidents. Several regional newspapers have not been distributed in Aden and Taiz provinces. The latest issues of the opposition newspapers "Al-Qadiya" and "Al-Yaqeen" were seized at the security checkpoint at the entrance to Taiz province on 23 April. Copies of "Al-Yaqeen" and "Al-Shari'" were also seized by security forces at the southern entrance to Sanaa on 22 April. The driver transporting copies of the daily "Akram Octobre" to Taiz province was attacked.

In a similar case of censorship, copies of "Al-Oula Al-Youmiya" were seized in the capital on 20 April and a distributor was detained for several hours.

Several journalists have also been physically attacked by security forces. The photographer Rashid Al-Menifi was beaten by members of the security forces while covering a demonstration in Sanaa on 19 April. His camera was broken and he was taken to an intensive care unit. Dahan Al-Shamri, the correspondent of the newspaper "Al-Wahdawi", was attacked by supporters of President Saleh on 22 April because of his coverage of the demands of young people in Bani Qais province.

Journalists have also been the target of smear campaigns by certain media. Fikri Qasim, the editor of "Hadith Al-Madina", a weekly distributed in Taiz province, was one of the targets. His newspaper was confiscated recently because of its critical coverage. The journalists and activists Samia Al-Aghbari, Bushra al-Maqtari and Tawakkol Karman have been the targets of an online smear campaign. The journalist Mohammed al-Abasi has received telephone threats.

BAHRAIN

Haider Mohamed Al-Noaimi, a blogger and journalist who works for various media, including the opposition newspaper "Al-Wasat", was arrested by about 30 men who came to his home on the evening of 24 April and confiscated his computer and cameras before taking him away. They reportedly hit him during the raid. His Facebook profile, where he posted his articles, has been blocked since 3 April. Another "Al-Wasat" journalist, Nada Al-Wadi, was detained and questioned for around 10 hours on 20 April.

Ahmed Yousif Al-Dairy, a netizen who has been detained with his two sons since 1 April, has apparently not been getting the treatment he needs for his diabetes. His lawyers have not been able to see him and the authorities continue to say nothing about the case. Like Zakariya Rashid Hassan, who died in detention on 9 April after being tortured, he was one of the moderators of the forum Aldair
( http://www.aldair.net/forum/ ). His family fears he may have suffered the same fate.

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